Discomfort may lead to improvement

Sorry for the long break in between posts. We had some splendid visitors (my mom and dad) for a couple of weeks, and I got out of the routine of posting.


We are doing well out here. I finished my first 6 week session of boot camp, and I am happy to be enrolled in another 6 week session that begins on November 7. I got sick for the last week of boot camp, and this (a long with some other events that took place) kept me from attending the last week of boot camp. I still finished well, though, as I participated in the 3 hour Ultimate Parker Challenge Event. It was intense–especially after taking a week off; it’s a good thing I had run a couple times during that week. Otherwise, I may not have had the psychological confidence that I could complete it.


And now some words about the psychology of working out. Here’s what Collin and I were discussing last night after a good 6 mile run at a pace that was uncomfortable for me (yet still conversational for him…sigh). We were saying that in order to get better at something, oftentimes you have to experience some discomfort. When I was pushing myself to run hard last night, the great Angela Parker’s words returned to me:


“Decide right now that you are going to be okay with the discomfort you are feeling. Recognize right now that the discomfort that you feel is a good thing. It means you are accomplishing the work that you want to do. It means you are reaching your goals.”


Man, that’s good stuff. It’s so true! When I remember these words of wisdom, I relax my face, I concentrate on my breathing, and I embrace the work that my body and mind are cooperating to do. When I let myself lean into the effort (rather than fighting it or trying somehow to avoid it) my actual performance improves. It’s an exciting and empowering phenomenon.


A lot of people fail to develop healthy fitness habits (getting exercise regularly), and one main reason is that people misinterpret the physical symptoms of getting into shape (I read this in Shelley Taylor’s Health Psychology text book last year, and that’s the best I can do right now for a citation if I want to finish this post while Senya is still napping).


People sometimes feel their lungs burning, they feel their hearts pounding, and they think that it’s the exercise that’s the problem. It’s unfortunate that some people never push past this stage of getting into shape. This is the worst stage! The reason some of us love running and working out is because that stage ends. It’s still hard work to run, but that lung-burning, gasping for oxygen, head-spinning, nauseous experience does take a back seat once your body is conditioned to working out.


Senya has awoken.


Here’s another thing I like from my MS program, “the body is more likely to rust out than wear out.”


So, get moving!

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